A Derry childminder is one of 11 childcarers in the Western Health and Social Care Trust area who have just completed an innovative new training programme on working with two year olds.
The Developmental Programme for Two Year Olds was delivered by NICMA – the Childminding Association and was funded by the Department of Education.
Karen Crossan, who looks after five children, including two toddlers, at her home in the Woodbrook area of Derry, says the course has transformed her approach to dealing with this often challenging age group.
“One of the key things I learned is that even children of that young age can be quite independent,” she says.
“The programme really opened my eyes and made me realise they’re all individuals.”
In the light of what she’s learned from the NICMA programme, Karen says she’s now allowing the younger children to have more say in their activities and is a little less risk-averse in her approach. “For example, I have a rockery in my garden and, before, I wouldn’t have let them play on it because I would have been worried they might hurt themselves,” she explains. “But now I do allow them to go there, under close supervision of course, and they really enjoy that. “I’ve realised that they have to learn to assess risks for themselves.“If you don’t let them try, they won’t learn to identify any possible dangers and what’s likely to lead them to fall and what isn’t – they have to find out for themselves.” NICMA will be rolling out the training programme in the coming months.